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Panasonic AJ-HDC27 VariCam Captures the Dirt on new FX Drama

New Series, Starring Courtney Cox, Airing Tuesdays at 10 P.M. ET/PT

THE SERIES: The new FX hour-long drama series Dirt, starring Courteney Cox, which premiered earlier this month and is broadcast Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT, is being shot with a pair of AJ-HDC27 VariCam® HD Cinema cameras. The Director of Photography is Geary McLeod, and the Digital Imaging Technician is Ethan Phillips. Dirt was created by Matthew Carnahan.

Production of the first 13 episodes of Dirt began in August in Los Angeles and wraps at the end of this month. In the series, Cox plays ?Lucy Spiller, the editor-in-chief of two of the countrys most widely read tabloid magazines, which control the fates of the celebrities lining the pages. Dirt revolves around the dynamic Spiller and a cast of unique characters including a schizophrenic paparazzo uncovering the dirt people love to read and a struggling actor trying to make a name for himself.
PRODUCTION: Dirt is a full single-camera production. The VariCam was chosen for the production after an extensive comparison with Sonys F900 Cine Alta camera.

?We used the F900 for the pilot, and had to carry around an Arri 3 film camera to handle the off-speed work, said DP McLeod. ?Bob Primes (veteran, Emmy Award-winning film and television cinematographer) recommended the VariCam to us, and not only did the camera give us variable-speed capture, but we also preferred the way it handles skin tones. The VariCams are rented from Clairmont Camera (Hollywood, CA). 

?Weve shot off-speed for pretty much every episode, continued McLeod. ?Customarily, we shoot at 60-fps, so post can do whatever it wants in terms of speed. But Ethan has done some in-camera ramping, allowing the director to ramp up and down on cue for specific Steadicam work. Working with the VariCam has been a good experience?its flexible and reliable, and were lucky to have access to Ethans extensive technical expertise with the camera. Id gladly shoot another show with it. 

POST: Post-production on Dirt is done at Modern Video (Burbank, CA). Series associate producer Joe DeOliveira explained that the production provides select print dailies and a data DVD with sound to Modern Video. The dailies are upconverted to 1080/24P and mastered on Panasonic D-5 HD. Tape-to-tape color correction is done on a da Vinci 2K system (Kim Schneider is the colorist). ?The VariCam footage looks beautiful, said DeOliveira. ?The camera has given us utmost flexibility with speed changes, and the ability to tweak the shutter angles lets us make shots on the spot. 

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